The Jacob deGrom injury didn’t just hurt the New York Mets, it also hurt their ability to make trades. Teams know how important he is to the team's success. Losing him this close to the start of the season has limited what they can or cannot do. The mighty Mets led by Steve Cohen have a target on their backs. Teams aren’t about to play nice when it comes to swapping players.
We’re seeing this with the proposed deal with the San Diego Padres. San Diego is willing to help the Mets solve their starting pitcher injuries woes only if they’d also be willing to take on a portion of Eric Hosmer’s salary. It’s not incredibly outrageous but also an indication of what we could expect in the future with Mets trades.
Desperation has set in for the Mets. Taking on a pair of Padres players they would like to move in exchange for Dominic Smith is not ideal. It’s also probably the best they can do right now without damaging the farm system.
The Mets won’t get any favors from the other 29 MLB teams
Cohen’s billions are an advantage for the Mets in free agency. We saw it this offseason. Nobody was out of reach among the free agents. While not everyone chose to sign with the team, the Mets were able to make the best offer to several players—even to some that signed elsewhere.
In trades, it’s entirely different. There needs to be a little more give and take. There’s relationship-building that needs to occur. You’re scratching one general manager’s back so he can scratch yours back. Right now, Eppler’s back is really dry and scaly.
Eppler only made one major trade this offseason and it was a deal with Sandy Alderson’s old team, the Oakland Athletics. A team desperate to shed at least a little salary, the Mets managed to pick up Chris Bassitt in exchange for J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller. It was hardly a blockbuster deal compared to what the Mets could be making with the Padres.
The Mets will need to be especially smart with the trades they do make and hit on their free agent signings. Cohen’s money has the benefit of buying players and extending homegrown talent. It won’t help them conduct business with other organizations. In fact, it could hurt them.